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Equatorial Guinea grants two-year extension on exploration programmes

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Oilfield Technology,

In the face of the Covid-19 global pandemic and its consequences on oil prices and African economies, the Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons (MMH) of Equatorial Guinea has signed a Ministerial Order granting oil and gas companies a two-year extension on their exploration programmes and relaxing capital expenditure requirements for E&P companies. The MMH will also ensure flexibility on the work programmes of producing companies to ensure growth and stability in the market.

The extension of time and resources will particularly aid US companies, which represent the lion’s share of investment in Equatorial Guinea’s energy sector and are currently in the early stages of exploration and seismic interpretation of several key offshore blocks.

Dallas-based Kosmos Energy will receive an extension to analyse regional data and continue geological surveys of its interests in four offshore exploration blocks (EG-21, EG-24, S and W), with a view to resume drilling programmes and yield discoveries in 2021.

Houston-based VAALCO Energy will also receive an extension to develop strong prospects identified in offshore Block P, in which it holds a 31% participating interest.

African independent Atlas Oranto, which recently established an outpost in Houston, will continue its development of Block H, in which Phase 1 of the production-sharing contract has been completed and the highly prospective Aleta asset has been identified.

The Nigeria-based explorer also holds a stake in Block EG-02, in which initial interpretation of seismic survey indicates some of the largest hydrocarbon reserves in the region and depicts similarities to discoveries in Blocks I and O in the Douala Basin.

Simultaneous inversion of pre-stack seismic data, along with coherence and spectral decomposition processing have been completed, resulting in the identification of a major upper cretaceous deepwater fan system, comparable to the Liza discovery offshore Guyana.

While some elements of work programmes will be delayed by Covid-19, other key energy projects remain on track, such as Noble Energy and Marathon Oil’s Alen backfill project. Pipelines for the development have already been installed, and gas feed from the Alen and Aseng fields to onshore processing facilities at the EG LNG Plant in Punta Europa is set to come online by November.

“The Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons remains concerned about the resounding impact of the drop in oil prices, Covid-19 and its dramatic consequences on our hydrocarbons industry. At a time of great uncertainty, we have an obligation to make bold, decisive, and pragmatic policy decisions to get the industry moving again,” stated H.E. Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons. “Our government is fully committed to safeguard our local oil & gas industry, its companies and its employees. The granting of these extensions has been deemed suitable to create an enabling environment for international and African companies to keep investing in Equatorial Guinea and ensure a quick recovery of our industry.”

In addition, the MMH will continue working with oil companies benefitting from such incentives to make sure that the recovery of Equatorial Guinea’s oil sector is made on the back of local content promotion, increased technology transfers, and procurement of additional local goods and services. A particular emphasis will be put on educating, training and promoting the local workforce to help further reduce operational costs for international companies while maximising the creation of local value and revenue.

Such measures are being rolled out as Equatorial Guinea implements a series of landmark projects across its upstream, midstream and downstream industries. The backfill project is already ongoing to pool supply from stranded gas in the Gulf of Guinea and replace declining output from the Alba Field. Meanwhile, the ongoing Year of Investment has generated strong interest from various existing and new players in Equatorial Guinea to build and expand midstream and downstream infrastructure and maximise local processing and transformation of domestic crude oil and natural gas.

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Upstream news Exploration news Upstream project news Oil & gas news